Preaching — Summary of Sermon Types

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Alfred P. GibbsI have been summarizing the types of sermons in Alfred P. Gibbs’ The Preacher and His Preaching for some of the posts on this month’s topic of preaching. In my first installment, I gave his description of expositional and textual sermons. The next installment summarized the biographical sermon and the historical incident sermon. Last week I introduced the topical sermon.  There are other types of sermons.  One example we see in Scripture is the personal testimony.  So, how do these types of sermons work together to preach the whole counsel of God?  I want to briefly look at the book of Galatians to give some examples.

First, most of the passages in Galatians naturally lend themselves toward the expostitional type of sermon.  So I am not going to list all the passages that could be expositional.  Second, I am not going to list all the passages that could be preached in all the different styles available.  I just want to show some examples.

Almost from the start we see the need to do a topical study on the terms “gospel” and “grace.”

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.   Galatians 1:6

Here, we see that the topic of the book of Galatians is going to be grace and the gospel and we see from this verse that the two (grace and gospel) are either the same or closely comparable — so a topical study/sermon is in order.

Then, starting in verse 13 of chapter one through chapter two verse 16, or even 21, there are strong biographical elements that could be used to supplement a biographical study/sermon on the life of Paul.  There is also in that section a historical incident that is quite important.  The account of the “Jerusalem council” is told here and in the book of Acts.

Lastly, there are many wonderful texts throughout the book of Galatians.  It seems to me that to preach the whole passage around these texts would force the preacher not to be able to bring to God’s people the great truths that have been given us in some of the individual verses of Galatians:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Galatians 2:16

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 2:21

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. Galatians 3:11

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Galatians 4:4

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:7-8

My encouragement to preachers is this:  Preach the Word.  Whatever type of sermon the Word suggests, preach in that way.  But above all, preach the Word.  Do not come to sermon preparation with an idea and then try to develop it with Scripture.  Come to the Scriptures looking for what is there that needs to be delivered to God’s people.

May God bless you as you serve Him.

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